1991 Rewind: Game Ninety


Date:  Thursday, July 18.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.  Shane Mack was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Scott Leius was 1-for-3 with a home run (his second), a stolen base (his fifth), two walks, and three runs.  Chili Davis was 1-for-5 with a home run (his twentieth) and four RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Jack Morris struck out eight in seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk.  Terry Leach pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Jack Clark was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirteenth) and two RBIs.  Ellis Burks was 1-for-3 with a home run, his eleventh.  Tom Bolton pitched five innings of relief, giving up one run on three hits and striking out two.

The game:  The two teams combined for one hit in the first two innings, but that changed in the third.  Gene Larkin and Greg Gagne opened the inning with singles, followed by a walk to Leius to load the bases.  Al Newman then delivered a two-run double, Puckett had an RBI single, and Davis drove in a run with a ground out, making it 4-0.  The Twins weren't done.  Brian Harper singled and advanced on a throw, putting men on second and third.  Mack then struck a two-run single to make the score 6-0.

The Twins added some more in the fourth.  With one out, Leius singled and stole second (breaking an unwritten rule?).  Newman reached on an error, Puckett had another RBI single, and Davis hit a three-run homer to make the score 10-0.

It was never close after that.  The Red Sox got on the board on the bottom of the fourth when Jody Reed singled, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on Clark's RBI single.  Burks hit a home run in the fifth to make it 10-2.  Leius homered in the ninth and Clark homered in the ninth, and it ended up 11-3.

WP:  Morris (13-6).  LP:  Kevin Morton (1-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Mack was again in left in place of Dan Gladden.  Larkin was in right, making his first appearance since July 1.  Newman started at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch.  He batted second, with Leius in the number one spot.

Jarvis Brown went to center field in the sixth to replace Puckett.  Randy Bush entered the game in the eighth inning in place of Kent Hrbek.  He went to left, with Mack going to right and Larkin moving to first base.  Tom Kelly usually played Bush in right and Mack in left--perhaps the Green Monster changed his thinking for this game.  Knoblauch replaced Gagne at shortstop in the eighth.

Harper went 1-for-4 and was batting .332.  Puckett raised his average to .326.  Morris lowered his ERA to 3.39.  Leach lowered his ERA to 3.22.

Brown was 0-for-1 and was batting .167.

I referenced this above, but I wonder if there was any comment about Leius stealing second with a six-run lead.  There shouldn't have been--it was only the fourth inning, they were in Boston, and the Red Sox had a pretty good lineup--but the unwritten rules are a tricky thing, and they seem to vary from year to year and team to team.

Morton, the Boston starter, lasted 2.1 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and a walk and striking out two.  Morton had pitched decently against the Twins five days earlier, but they certainly figured him out in the third inning of this game.

I don't remember Tom Bolton at all, but he pitched in the majors for eight years.  Most of that was with the Red Sox--he came up in 1987 and stayed with them until July of 1992, when he was traded to Cincinnati for Billy Hatcher.  He was with Detroit in 1993 and Baltimore in 1994.  He was actually pretty good for Boston in 1990, going 10-5, 3.38, 1.32 WHIP.  1991 was not a good year for him:  8-9, 5.24, 1.70 WHIP.  He would make one more appearance, then miss a month due to injury--one wonders if he was fighting an injury most of the season.  Or perhaps 1990 was just a fluke season, because his next lowest ERA for a season was 4.38 in his rookie season.  For his career he was 31-34, 4.56, 1.59 WHIP.  He played in 209 games, 56 of them starts, and pitched 540.1 innings.  After baseball, he went back to his home town of Nashville and went into the real estate development business.

Oakland lost yesterday (when the Twins were idle) and lost to New York 3-2 today, so the Twins gained a game and a half on them.  The Athletics fell into a second-place tie with California, which defeated Cleveland 5-4.

Record:  The Twins were 52-38, in first place in the American League West, four games ahead of California and Oakland.